With the third public holiday to acknowledge Matariki in Aotearoa fast approaching, it's the perfect time to reflect on how we can honour this auspicious occasion. The Māori New Year starts as the month of Pipiri begins (early-June to early-July), with stargazers seeking the mesmerising Matariki cluster in the early morning sky.

This year's Aotearoa (New Zealand) theme, Matariki Heri Kai, celebrates Matariki as the bringer of food, encouraging the protection and care of our food sources. However, each region also brings its unique perspective to Matariki, and in the Bay of Plenty, this year’s regional Matariki theme embraces Waitī and Waitā. Waitī represents freshwater and its ecosystems, while Waitā is associated with saltwater and marine life. Both highlight the health of their waters and our dependence on these environments for our wellbeing.

The region offers an array of cultural activities and experiences that will leave you with a profound sense of belonging. Gather as whānau (family) to witness the Matariki constellation from Mauao (Mount Maunganui), explore forager trails in our native ngahere (forests), or sail the moana (ocean) with a waka ama at sunrise.

Mānawatia a Matariki!